New research suggests that essentially there is no such thing as a distinctly male or female brain. This was the first study to look at the brain as a whole and ask whether brains are of two types and the answer is an unequivocal no.
After analyzing more than 1,400 MRI scans researchers found that biologically unmistakable sex differences do not extend to the brain, but rather it is a mix of masculine and feminine characteristics.
Researchers said that each person possesses a unique mosaic of characteristics: some more common in females compared to males, some more common in males compared to females, and some common in both.
They found that the brains of males and females did not tend to stand apart in terms of gray matter, white matter and connections inside the brain. (Gray matter refers to brain cells known as neurons; white matter connects neurons to each other.)
The researchers also analyzed three previous studies of personality traits, actions and attitudes involving more than 5,500 people. Again, they found that it is rare for people to be consistently masculine or feminine in the way they act. Instead, people tend to have a mix of male and female traits.
The findings suggest people should not be treated differently based on their sex. For example, single-sex education is often advocated on the basis of the claim that such schools can specifically cater to 'boy brains' and 'girl brains’. Researchers said their results undermined the entire concept of boy/girl brains.
Over the decades, scientists have already learned that most features of the brain between male and female animals, including humans, are not categorically distinct. They noted that it is similar to body height in humans. On average, males are taller, but there are many female individuals who are taller than male individuals.